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After Neoliberalism »

Authored by: John Quiggin
Publication date: 2024
Since the early 1980s, Australian economic policy has been dominated by the ideology of neoliberalism (also known as ‘economic rationalism’), including policies of privatisation, financial deregulation and micro-economic reform. Throughout this period, John Quiggin has presented critical assessments of neoliberal policies and the claims about productivity growth made in support of those policies. The credibility of neoliberalism was fatally wounded by the Global Financial Crisis and its aftermath. Nevertheless, market ideology has lumbered on in zombie form, for want of a clear alternative. It is only recently that we have begun to reverse the failed policies of privatisation and deregulation and to consider radical alternatives such as a shift to a four-day week. This book provides a historical perspective in the form of a series of articles written from the mid-1980s to the present day. It concludes with some suggestions for the way forward, after neoliberalism. ‘John Quiggin is the intellectual equivalent of a dazzling fireworks display. I walk away from every encounter with a bright new insight, and this book is no exception. Agree or disagree, Professor Quiggin is a veritable trove of fresh insights. Spanning nearly four decades, this volume brings together some of Professor Quiggin’s most provocative contributions, driven by a deep commitment to equity. It will pique your curiosity and encourage you to work towards a better world.’ —Andrew Leigh, Parliamentarian and author of The Shortest History of Economics

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A Team of Five Million? »

The 2020 ‘Covid-19’ New Zealand General Election

Publication date: 2024
New Zealand was one of a handful of countries that held a national election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its policy response stood out as remarkably successful. Indeed, several years on from the onset of the crisis, in 2023 New Zealand still retained a record of no excess deaths. While New Zealanders were voting on October 17, 2020, their country had only recorded 25 confirmed deaths out of a population of five million. Then, support for the government’s crisis management was at its height. Labour, the leading party in the incumbent coalition government, secured a historic election victory. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had taken up the metaphor of the New Zealand people as ‘a team of five million’ facing the COVID-19 threat together. This book seeks to explain the success of the government’s strategy through an analysis of the election campaign and outcome. The authors also address the limits of this approach and the extent to which some voters felt alienated rather than connected with the ‘team’. The election outcome was a big short-term swing of the electoral pendulum. It did not generate a reset of the party system. Three years on, as the 2023 election loomed into sight, the party system looked much as it did prior to the pandemic and Labour’s success in 2020 was about to be dramatically reversed.

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Defying Beijing »

Societal Resistance to the Belt and Road in Myanmar

Authored by: Debby Chan
Publication date: 2024
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to construct a Sino-centric transcontinental infrastructure network in Asia, Europe, Africa, and beyond. Within this initiative, the China–Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) is a vital strategic component. The shortcut to the Indian Ocean seeks to improve China’s energy security and facilitate trade. Defying Beijing: Societal Resistance to the Belt and Road in Myanmar shows how Myanmar was able to capitalise on Chinese BRI ambitions to achieve its own desired outcomes during the country’s political liberalisation in the 2010s. Belying the asymmetrical relationship between these two nations, the Myitsone hydropower dam was suspended, the Letpadaung copper mine’s contract was renegotiated, and the Kyaukphyu deep seaport project was downsized. China offered concessions to Myanmar instead of pressuring it to honour those signed agreements. Contrasting a common proposition that US-Myanmar rapprochement disrupted the BRI projects in Myanmar, Defying Beijing argues that the rise of new foreign policy actors – citizens – made project continuation costlier for Naypyidaw in the course of political liberalisation in the 2010s. Naypyidaw was pressured to renegotiate terms with Beijing in the wake of social outcry in the country. Defying Beijing advances our understanding of Chinese–Myanmar BRI relations and demonstrates how citizens can change the course of events of BRI cooperation despite oppressive political environments and an imbalanced bargaining structure. In post-coup Myanmar, Naypyidaw’s policy options were not conditioned by public opinion or protests; nonetheless, armed resistance has posed new domestic constraints in the CMEC’s implementation. Clearly, bilateral economic agreements without citizens’ endorsement are fraught with legitimacy problems and instabilities.

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Ginkgo Village »

Trauma and Transformation in Rural China

Authored by: Tamara Jacka
Publication date: 2024
Ginkgo Village provides an original and powerfully intimate bottom-up perspective on China’s recent tumultuous history. Drawing on ethnographic and life-history research, the book takes readers deep into a village in a mountainous region of central-eastern China known as Eyuwan. In the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, villagers in this region experienced terrible trauma and far-reaching socio‑economic and political change. In the civil war (1927–1949), they were slaughtered in fighting between Nationalist and Communist forces. During the Great Leap Forward (1958–1961), they suffered appalling famine. Since the 1990s, mass labour outmigration has lifted local villagers out of poverty and fuelled major transformations in their circumstances and practices, social and family relationships, and values and aspirations. At the heart of this book are eight tales that recreate Ginkgo Village life and the interactions between villagers and the researchers who visit them. These tales use storytelling to engender an empathetic understanding of Ginkgo Villagers’ often traumatic life-experiences; to present concrete details about transformations in everyday village life in an engaging manner; and to explore the challenges and rewards of fieldwork research that attempts empathetic understanding across cultures.

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Uneven Connections »

A Partial History of the Mobile Phone in Papua New Guinea

Authored by: Robert J. Foster
Publication date: March 2024
In the first years of the 21st century, economic liberalisation began to transform telecommunications services throughout the Pacific Islands. Government regulators, corporate executives and everyday consumers hopefully imagined that opening mobile phone markets to competition would result in greater access, lower costs and accelerated development. Uneven Connections examines the ways in which liberalisation took hold in Papua New Guinea (PNG) when a unit of the Caribbean-based mobile network operator Digicel Group Ltd. seized the opportunity to compete with the state-sponsored incumbent. The book highlights how mobile phones entered the lives of urban and rural Papua New Guineans after Digicel’s arrival in 2007. In so doing, it describes a moral economy in which companies, consumers and state agents continually negotiate who owes what to whom. In what ways have these various actors invented and negotiated new forms of both freedom and constraint? Uneven Connections advances understanding of how a so-called digital revolution in PNG unfolded, resulting in outcomes that often confounded the expectations of policy makers and ordinary citizens alike. It assesses the extent to which some of the promises of this revolution have been redeemed and identifies the challenges faced by companies, consumers and state agents in establishing and experiencing novel forms of uneven connectivity. The book provides a short and selective history of mobile phones in PNG, ending with the sale of Digicel’s Pacific operations to the Australian company Telstra in 2022.

Forty Years in the South Seas »

Archaeological Perspectives on the Human History of Papua New Guinea and the Western Pacific Region

Publication date: 2024
“This edited volume of invited chapters honours the four decades of fundamental research by archaeologist Glenn Summerhayes into the human prehistory of the islands of the western Pacific, especially New Guinea and its offshore islands. This area helped to shape and direct many ancient dispersal events associated with Homo sapiens, initially from Africa more than 50,000 years ago, through the lower latitudes of Asia, into Australia, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and possibly the Solomon Islands. Around 3000 years ago, coastal regions of northern and eastern New Guinea, and the islands of Melanesia beyond, played a major role in the Oceanic migrations of Austronesian-speaking peoples from southern China and Southeast Asia, migrations that have recently attained new levels of genetic complexity through the analysis of ancient DNA from human remains. For the first time, humans of both Southeast Asian and New Guinea/Bismarck genetic origin reached the islands of Remote Oceania, beyond the Solomons. Many of the chapters in this book deal with archaeological aspects of this Austronesian maritime expansion (which never seriously impacted the populations of the New Guinea Highlands), especially as revealed through the analysis of Lapita pottery and associated artefacts. Other chapters offer archaeological perspectives on trade and exchange, and on related topics that extend into the ethnographic era. The research of Glenn Summerhayes stands centrally amongst all these offerings, ranging from the discovery of some of the oldest traces of Pleistocene human settlement in Papua New Guinea to documentation of the remarkable phenomenon of Lapita expansion through Melanesia into western Polynesia around 3000 years ago. This volume is a fitting celebration of a remarkable career in western Pacific archaeology and population history.” ­— Emeritus Professor Peter Bellwood, The Australian National University

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Political and Social Control in China »

The Consolidation of Single-Party Rule

Publication date: March 2024
During the past decade Xi Jinping has reasserted the Chinese Communist Party’s dominance of state and society, tightening political and social controls to consolidate the Party’s monopoly on political power in China. This volume brings leading China experts together to examine the changing mechanics of authoritarian rule in China, and the Party’s systematic efforts to neutralise potential threats. The book examines critical but little understood changes to the architecture of state, which enables more effective top-down rule and the efficient operation of an increasingly professional bureaucracy. It also explores the policies and mechanisms the Party has used to squash dissent and prevent criticisms. This volume will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how the CCP has consolidated its rule at home and how it relates to the Party’s global ambitions for China’s great national rejuvenation.

The Chinese in Papua New Guinea »

Past, Present and Future

Publication date: 2024
Papua New Guinean, Chinese and Australian people have long been entangled in the creation of complex histories and political debates concerning the similarities and differences of each group. These debates are fundamental to understandings of how a sense of national unity in Papua New Guinea is formed, as well as within analyses of the wider world of strategic power dynamics and influence. The Chinese in Papua New Guinea offers a comprehensive and nuanced examination of the Chinese in Papua New Guinea. Chinese, Papua New Guinean and Australian interactions are analysed in the context of ongoing shifts in colonial power, increased regional engagement with China, and current political instabilities across the Indo-Pacific region. The many ways the Chinese have been defined as actors in PNG’s history and politics are analysed against the backdrop of a rapidly changing global order. The complexity of Chinese experiences within Papua New Guinea is given expression, here, with chapters that stress political and historical heterogeneity, the importance of language for understanding Chinese social relations, and that articulate rich personal experiences of race relations.

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Australian Urban Policy »

Prospects and Pathways

Publication date: March 2024
Urban Australia confronts numerous challenges in the 21st century: climate change, housing, transport, greenspace, social inequality, and governance, among them. While state and local governments wrestle with these issues, they are continent wide and require national leadership, direction and participation. As a highly urbanised country without a national approach to urban policy, Australia is an outlier. Contributors to this book argue that this policy gap needs to be addressed. They ask: How have productive, sustainable and liveable cities so far been enhanced? Where have aspirations fallen short or produced negative outcomes? And what approaches are emerging to challenge existing and devise new urban policy settings? In the face of ongoing crises and escalating change, the need for policy to quickly transform urban Australia is daunting. Problems, wicked in their complexity, require innovative, ethical solutions. This book offers new ideas that challenge policy orthodoxy.

China’s New Era »

Edited by: Annie Luman Ren, Ben Hillman
Publication date: 2024
According to Communist Party discourse, China’s ‘New Era’ began when Xi Jinping was anointed Party boss in 2012. The shape of this New Era became eminently clear in 2023 when Xi commenced his third five-year term as General Secretary of the Party, a fortification of one-man authoritarian rule unprecedented in post-Mao China. Under Xi, the Party has expanded its influence over government, the economy and society. The Party-State is now more Party than State. The year 2023 saw other ‘new eras’ for China as well. Despite initial optimism sparked by the end of COVID-19 restrictions in late 2022, the Chinese economy in 2023 was buffeted by continuing property sector woes, record unemployment, and an unfolding local government debt crisis. Globally, China adopted a series of new and ambitious diplomatic initiatives to woo the Global South and amplify its voice on the world stage. The China Story Yearbook 2023: China’s New Era provides informed perspectives on these and other important stories that will resonate for years to come.

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